Trentino is a province which lies in the region of South Tyrol in Italy. Renowned for its mountains, such as the famous Dolomites, which are part of the Alps. A place where your camera doesn't leave your hands, since there is simply so much beauty to capture. My travels focussed mainly on the area of Val di Fiemme and The Natural Park of Paneveggio. I know one thing for sure: as a photographer and a nature lover, you definitely want to check out these 6 great photo spots!Read More
I recently have had the experience to visit the stunning nature of Västerbotten in the Lapland of Sweden. Thanks to the relative proximity to the Arctic Circle, June offers 20 hours of daylight. As a photographer, I think this is perfect place to capture the brightness of the midnight sun and watch the perfect magic light shining over the many scenic landscapes Västerbotten has to offer. Did I mention Fika yet? Let me take you on a journey through this beautiful part of Sweden.
It only takes 2 and a half hours to fly from Amsterdam to Skellefteå. Small Planet airlines provide a comfortable flight which is operated by GoTONordics. We had clear skies all the way, to arrive in skies with hailstorms. What a stunning sight from above! On arrival, you can straight away feel the fresh air filling your lungs. I also noticed being really tired the first day, probably due to the amount of oxygen in the air.
A thing you must definitely check out first, is what the weather will be like. Even though it is now almost summer, it can be quite harsh and rapidly changing, with possible temperatures between +5C – +20C at this time of year. Therefore, you need to make sure you wear the proper clothing. Haglöfs -a Swedish make- knows exactly what you need. They provide the coolest outdoor clothing, from some of the most sustainable materials around the world. It is important to wear many layers, such as warm sweater or fleece, and wind/water proof jacket, since you can take them on and off whenever the weather changes. A pair of sturdy, comfortable, waterproof shoes for walking would be advisable as well. And don’t forget your sunglasses and your watch, since you will completely loose track of time due to the bright light. :)
The landscape in this part of Sweden obviously is filled with trees and feels a bit like Canada. While travelling long distances, you might just end up with seeing a reindeer or moose between the trees or even on the road. The reindeers are quite tame and will not run off straight away. A moose in contrast will, since it is much more afraid.
We spend our first day together with Mikael Vinka, who is an experienced Sámi guide and storyteller. He spends most of his time in the outdoors and has incomparable knowledge about the natural landscape and Sámi culture. He has been walking along the paths of Sámi history, collecting stories, lore and knowledge. While listening to the stories and hiking on the beautiful peninsula of Bjuroklubb, this is quite a unique experience which brings you even closer to nature. Find out more about the Sámi culture here.
Another unique place is the tiny island of Pite-Rönnskär, just north of Renholmen outside Byske. Leaving with a small motorised boat from Kinnbäck, it only takes around twenty minutes to the island. Historically, it is a great fishing location, pilot station and lighthouse station. Today, it is still an idyllic scenery with the horizon as neighbour. A perfect place to relax and watch the time go by. The island’s skyline is dominated by the lighthouse surrounded by small red cottages, which used to be the homes of the fishermen. Today they are mostly used as summer cottages. It is worth to climb up in the lighthouse, since it provides a great scenic view over the island.
While you are here, it is nice to visit the little fishermen’s chapel. Built in 1771, it used to be a meeting-place for the harbour team. No fisherman was allowed to leave for the herring banks until the chapel bell had sounded. The bell was also used to guide the fishing teams in darkness and fog.
capturing the Midnight sun
When the day ends here, the sun slowly sets to disappear for only three hours. Therefore it doesn't get completely dark, which for me as photographer, is a great opportunity to chase the perfect light all day long! When in Skellefteå, you should definitely go up to Vitberget to enjoy and capture the stunning views, or relax at the campfire near at a lake nearby to hopefully enjoy a beautiful sunset!
If you like nature, Sweden is the right place to be for you. With many outdoor activities, even during summer there is enough to experience. Cycling, hiking, rafting, to actually experience the wilderness! In Svansele, we visited The Wilderness Exhibition, which was really unique and educational. It is where they show Sweden’s five largest predators, also know as the Big Five: Lynx, Wolf, Bear, Wolverine and our two big eagle species, the Sea Eagle and Golden Eagle. I would also recommend to take their bicycle tour through the silent nature. There is so much beauty here to see!
Next to their many outdoor activities in this beautiful area, they also offer great wilderness camps where you can spend the night in the middle of the pine tree forests. The food is prepared over open fire and consists mainly off of locally produced meat and vegetables, ranging from Swedish meatballs to reindeer, and moose, served on wooden plates with wooden cutlery. They strive to give an experience as close to nature as possible, which is so nice!
Silence is golden...
Another great thing Sweden has to offer is the many Spa and health traditions. They have been around for some 300 years. As most people are nature lovers, you can understand why they are located in beautiful seclusion in the Swedish countryside and forests. This Hotel is build on a mountain in the shape of an eagle, with a marvellous view over the forests of Västerbotten.
To even relax more after a nice spa treatment, retreat to one of the many lakes nearby to witness some incredible midnight sunsets. Here you can find true silence… apart from the continuous shutter sound of my camera that is. I feel another Silence series coming up...:)
Being one with nature
The one thing I like is how all the people are so close to nature here. Something we are not aware of most of the time. Using the elements earth has given us in such a positive way, I think many people could learn from that. This wild river is called the Vindel and is perfect for filling your bottle with water. It was also used for transporting timber and it is great for rafting, fishing and even swimming. Most of all, it is a fantastic hideaway to just watch the forces of nature as the melting icewater from the mountain rages downhill in a tremendous speed.
Sleeping in style
If you like tree houses, you should definitely visit the Granö Lodges. This local company is inspired by the area’s heritage and a local bird watchers devotion to birdlife. Situated at the banks of the river Umeälven, you’ll have spectaculair views from the tree houses in where you sleep and feel like a bird! With many activities such as Sami tours, timber rafting, biking, moose safari’s, herbal walks and bread baking, I don’t think you will ever get bored here, as I love sleeping in style!
We drove towards our last stop; the lovely city of Umea, where I watched my last sunset from the hotelroom before returning home in the morning. It is a shame this adventure has come to an end. It was such an amazing experience to be so close to nature and to experience and benefit the long midnight sun with it’s fantastic light. One thing is for sure, the friendly people here are living the good life. It made me realise that all the essentials we need are just around you to be found in nature. Something we could truly learn from.
It has been so great to be back in South West Ireland once more. I have been lucky enough to visit here many times in the past, yet I'm still so surprised to see so many new and inspiring things. I have family living in this wonderful area, so I'm lucky enough to have the opportunity of visiting here, at least once a year. Ireland is simply stunning and with the ever changing light conditions, the diverse weather patterns and the many gems still to discover, a visit here is always exciting and never the same.
During this particular visit I spent a few days in Drimoleague, which is a small village situated in between the larger villages of Bantry and Skibbereen, in an area that is often referred to as ‘The Heart of West Cork’. This picturesque area is located close to the mountains and also the stunning untamed coastline, which is a great draw for any visitor. It is also not too far away from the amazing national park at Killarney. In this blog, I will highlight 7 fabulous locations that I think that are worth visiting. These locations must be experienced if you are a lover of nature, history and adventure!
1) Pod Páirc, stay in style!
There are of course many places to stay in West-Cork, but one location I would definitely recommend is the peaceful Pod Páirc on Top of the Rock in Drimoleague. Here, the friendly hosts David and Elizabeth Ross provided me with the unique opportunity to spend some quality time here. This ancient meeting place is located on top of a mountain, with stunning views over Castledonovan Hills and surrounding landscapes.
It is a very special place, as it is also the starting point of the famous St Finbarr’s Pilgrim Way, which is a walk that leads to Gougane Barra and beyond. Their walking centre provides a perfect venue for couples with miles of walking trails and routes along the river to wander along for mile upon mile.
At this friendly family farm, you can experience glamping; the adventure of the outdoors, while still enjoying the comforts of heat, light, a decent bed and even wifi. Traditional camping (with a tent) can also be done. Children can enjoy roasting marshmallows on the campfire, play in the extensive play yard, play games in the stunning Pod Páirc building, pet the sweetest dog called Daisy and enjoy all of the farm animals that run freely around here. The seven wooden pods come in two different styles. The luxurious version features two comfy beds, a toilet with sink and a mini kitchen. Everything you need, for a perfect stay. I mean who wouldn't want to wake up with the sounds of lambs, ducks and birds… simply nature at its best!
2) Gougane Barra
Travelling downhill, by car, through the ever winding roads, from the Top of the Rock towards Gougane Barra, you will pass by the stunning Donovan Castle. Dating back to the 16th century only a small amount still remains, but it provides enough evidence to ignite the imagination, as to what this ancient site was once like. This ancient castle is nestled in the picturesque landscape and can be seen as a prominent feature in the wider surroundings. So you should miss it and is well worth he stop.
Standing stones in Kealkill
With so many gems found along the way, take the journey slow and simply enjoy all that is laid there before you. During my travels I ventured passed the fabulous ancient stone circle at Kealkill. The Kealkill stone circle is a significant archaeological site with a radial stone cairn and a pair of standing stones. Visitors to the circle can take advantage of spectacular views of nearby Bantry Bay to the west, Cnoc Baoi to the north and the Sheha Hills to the east. There are many of these ancient sites around, but from this particular location you not only experience the ancient wonders of times gone by, you also have the most incredible views over the bay and the mountain landscape beyond. It is definitely worth a stopping to enjoy this picturesque point on the map.
Guagán Barra, meaning "the rock of Barra" is a settlement, west of Macroom. Arriving here, you will find a tiny island in the lake connected to the shore by a causeway. It was here, nearby the 6th century, that St. Finbarr, patron saint of Cork, founded his early Christian monastery, before moving down the River Lee to establish a monastery at what is now St. Finbarrs Cathedral in Cork City. There is a small church on the island in this beautiful and serene location, away from the hustle & bustle of daily life. Set on a picturesque location with a richly decorated interior this is a popular place for weddings and a well known photography spot.
National forest park
Nearby the church, you can enter the stunning Gougane Barra's Forest Park. Being Ireland’s first National Park when it opened to the public in 1966, this magnificent Forest Park covers an area of over 400 hectares (1,000 acres). It has some beautiful scenic trails with lots of places to picknick, stunning fairytail paths, little bridges and hillsides. Tucked in a valley it feels like a mini Yosemite Valley. A place definitely worth seeing. Make sure you bring your midget spray!
3) Garnish Island, Glengarrif
Only a short drive from Drimoleague brings you to beautiful Glengarriff. From here you can take the Garnish Island Ferry to visit the amazing island Botanic gardens. It is definitely worth going there, since from the boat you can admire the magnificent views of the bay and spot many of the photogenetic seals that are catching the sun or taking a rest on the rocks. Also, you will pass a sea eagle who is eager to have his picture taken, since he is ever resting on a trunk on a little island in the bay. So even just for the boattrip, it is worth it.
Once arrived, you will find the ticket office and a small restaurant which serves light lunches and general refreshments before or after walking. Garnish is world renowned for its gardens which are laid out in beautiful walks and it has some stunning specimen of flowers and plants which are rare in this climate. The island is laid out in walks and areas as can be seen on the map of the garden.
During your walks you will find a diverse range of structures in the gardens, which include the Martello Tower (an original feature of the Island dating from the 1805), a Grecian Temple on the western side, the clock tower adjacent to the walled gardens and the Italian Temple in the Italian Gardens. From these structures, you will have amazing views of the bay.
4) The Beara peninsula
After visiting Garnish Island we went for a scenic drive towards Adrigole, approximately 16 km over the R572 along the north-western shore of the Beara Peninsula. The Beara peninsula is actually located in two counties: Cork and Kerry, and was named after a Spanish princess, Princess Beara. Since that is route part of the famous Wild Atlantic Way, it has some beautiful sceneries along the way.
Adrigole is a village on the scenic south coast of the Beara Peninsula. Looming over it is Hungry Hill (685m, 2,253 ft), the highest of the Caha Mountain range which forms the spine of the peninsula. For visitors walking the Beara Way Walking route, Adrigole is the perfect place to stay, located midway between Glengarriff and Castletownbere. We made a quick stop here to take in the tranquility of the Adrigole bay. The views while driving on the peninsula are just... wow! Apart from being stunningly beautiful The Beara Peninsula is the place to go if you like peace and quiet roads with no tour buses.
5) Molls Gap
It is well worth the trip. Take the high tunnel road to Co Kerry and visit Molly Gallivans old farmstead for a guided tour of what life was like on a small farm in the early part of the last century. If you have an hour to spare after that, then a visit to Kenmare is a must. Kenmare is a gem of a town located on a beautiful estuary. Here you will find plenty to see and do with good family restaurants and shops that cater for all ages. From Molls Gap, we head into the the north towards Black Valley.
6) Black Valley
This remote location in the Macgillycuddy's Reeks is situated north of Moll's Gap. It is a place of outstanding natural beauty and a hiker's paradise. It is also known locally as 'Cummeenduff' which is Irish for Black Valley. It holds the distinction of being the last place in Ireland to be connected to the national electric grid in 1976 and indeed has very poor mobile phone reception so don't rely on your cell phone to contact the other members in your party. With that said, it is well worth visiting for it's unspoilt natural vistas and hiking opportunities. Please be aware that the land is owned and actively farmed. Respect the farmer's rights, close gates and 'leave no trace'.
7) Gap of Dunloe
The Gap of Dunloe is a place not to be missed with a wonderful natural scenery. Horseback riding with jaunting cars is very typical in this area and a real must do. Start from the world-famous Kate Kearney’s Cottage, situated at the start of the glacial valley, where you can take a jaunting car or go on horseback through the six mile pass which takes you to the end of Augher lake. The Gap is a narrow mountain pass between Mac Gillycuddy Reeks (to the west) and the Purple Mountain (to the east.) En-route you will pass five lakes linked together by the river Loe, with spectacular mountains on either side. Its a unique and bumpy ride, but you'll love every moment, as it is an experience you won't forget.
Sadly, my time in Ireland has come to an end again. As always, it has been a wonderful experience, as I loved seeing my family again but also, for having the enjoyment of exploring many new gems here in the South-West of Ireland. It is definitely an area that I think should be explored more.
I would like to extend a big thank you to The Irish Touristboard and Failte Ireland, for letting me have this wonderful opportunity and for all of their efforts in the organisation and making this trip a great success. If you would like to find out more, then please check here. Check here for more information about The Wild Atlantic Way.
Sometimes in life, you visit somewhere and wonder why you haven't been there before? When you get the chance to visit, you simply don't want to leave. That's how I felt on my latest trip to Scandinavia and the pieceful country of Denmark. For many years now I have been interested in visiting this country, it has always interested / intrigued me, with its closeness to nature and great outdoor lifestyle. Luckily, I was able to experience all of those nice elements during my latest visit, which was arranged on behalf of the Danish Tourist Board and Landal GreenParks. I will lead you through 5 highlights I visited in the Top of Denmark, which I think you shouldn't miss!
We flew the relatively short journey from Amsterdam, Schiphol to the northern city of Aalborg in sunny skies. It was a perfect flight, allowing us to see the islands to the north of the Netherlands and Germany and also the beautiful landscape and coastline of Denmark. On arrival at the airport it struck me how clean, efficient and stylish it all was and just how quiet it was. It was hard to believe, but it almost felt like we had the whole place to ourselves, which we really enjoyed. We headed north west with the car, some 30 km or so to our base for the week, the Dayz by Landal GreenParks resort at Grønhøj.
1) Grønhøj beach
The beaches here are just...wow! Don't miss out Grønhøj beach when you visit this area. Our Landal GreenParks resort was perfectly located close to the beach of Grønhøj. As it was just a short walk, some 400 metres, it leads you through the spectacular dunes (or perhaps a little longer journey by car). I mention the car, as it is one of the only beaches I have been to where you can drive your car onto the actual beach which is so cool! Make sure not to get stuck with your car on the soft sand though.
The sands are simply perfect and stretch both north and south, for as far as the eye can see. From here you have a view on
Rubjerg with it's stunning lighthouse. While we took a stroll along the beach a man beside us took to the sky in his para-sail.
It was a wonderful sight, watching him use the coast winds to enjoy the spectacular surroundings.
2) Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse
Since being invited by the Danish Tourist Board, one of the places I'd personally longed to visit was the lighthouse on the edge of Rubjerg’s never-ending sand landscape. From the many images I'd previously seen of this stunning lighthouse, it was a place that had always been on my wishlist. Not only because it was a significant landscape feature, but the sand dunes that surround the lighthouse are truly magnificent and the sand forever shifting, as they are constantly at the mercy of the elements. The lighthouse is estimated to only remain standing for another 10-15 years, before the ocean will consume it and I am so glad I have been there now. I took so many pictures of the lighthouse, but decided to come back again at sunset to shoot a video from above too:
Going up in the lighthouse is quite an experience. You can hear the strong wind howling through the old interieur and the views once up there are truly amazing. You can see for many miles here. It is amazing to see how the quick the landscape changes here through the years, and even as I am watching the sand being blown into the air from the dunes, it is easy to believe this place will never lo the same. Such an incredible and unforgettable sight!
Nestled close to the lighthouse at Redburg... is the fabulous seaside village of Lønstrup. Positioned close to the sea it has a small and quaint harbour, with a rich heritage in fishing. The harbour serves as a perfect base for small fishing boats, that fish out in the North sea beyond. Lønstrup is a great place, but has been affected by coastal erosion over the years, which is forever shaping this particular part of the coast.
4) Skagen (and the Tilsandede Kirke)
As you meander the beautiful country roads in a north easterly direction, you eventually reach the seaside town of Skagen at the very tip of northern Denmark. It is name was originally associated with the peninsula of sand. At Grenen, a few kilometres north of the town, you can stand with each of your feet in a different sea. It is here, at the northernmost tip of Jutland, that the Kattegat meets the Skagerrak. Here you can jump on “Sandormen”, which is a ride that takes you to Grenen. Such a weird experience arriving there, it's like waves having an argument with each other all the time.
The two seas Kattegat and Skagerrak colliding.
On both sides of Grenen, you will find child-friendly and beautiful beaches. Thanks the beautiful seascapes, fishermen and evening light here, towards the end of the 19th century it became popular with a group of impressionist artists now known as the Skagen Painters. They utilised the great light, water and wide open spaces to paint some of the finest artwork. Once again the area is home to some of Denmark's fine sandy beaches, colonies of seals and the eye catching lighthouse at Skagen Grenen.
The Tilsandede Kirke
A short distance and drive from Skagen is the Tilsandede Kirke. Here you will find a quite remarkable sight. Located in the sand dunes, close to the sea is the sunken church, which has become somewhat engulfed by the ever changing direction of the shifting sands. Here I used my drone to get up high and grab a completely different perspective.
5) Råbjerg Mile (Coastal sanddunes)
Råbjerg Mile covers a 2 km2 area and is Denmark’s larges drifting dune. The dune moves about 15 meters every year due to the north-easterly wind and has a height of 40 m (130 ft) above sea level. The dune contains a total of 4 million m3 of sand, which is incredibly much. Over 250,000 people visit the dune every year and I think you should be one of them, since this is quite an amazing and unique place to see for yourself!
My first visit to the top of Denmark, will hopefully not be my last. I found this wonderful part of Denmark to be so inviting and pieceful, that I hope to one day come back and experience even more. Fresh air, sandy beaches and stunning natural landscapes made for a visit that shall not be forgotten.
A few weeks ago I was invited by the Belgium Tourist Board @walloniabelgiumtourism to visit and explore the Ardennes in the region of Wallonia. An excursion I would find really interesting and I was particularly excited that it suited my love for nature. As a result, it included the chance to explore the unique High Fens in the Eifel National Park and also the natural beautiful and extensive woodland of the Ardennes forests. Our destination is Wallonia. A great area of Belgium with so much to see and do.
Within only two hours driving from my home in the Netherlands (Rotterdam), you will find the opportunity to get outside, explore and experience great nature areas.
Natural park the High Fens
After setting off from the Netherlands, we soon arrived at our first destination - Eupen. Eupen is a really nice small town nestled in the valley, close to the border of the Netherlands and also Germany. Easy access by road, rail or air, it would be our base for the coming days and allow us to easily get out and visit the surrounding area.
Our first location was the Natural Park the High Fens. This is a quite beautiful and extensive area of raised bog and heath land, that stretches extensively for a total area of 2,485 km2 (959 sq mi). With it being unique, not only in its appearance, but also geographical make up.
On arrival at the Nature Centre of Botrange, we had a little time to experience the stunning scenery, which looks quite desolate and serene, but is teeming with life. We met with our guide who showed us around this stunning area. With a wealth of information presented to us, we walked for round for 2 hours in a circular route. It not only compassed the High Fens, but also some stunning nearby woodlands, which can be utilised by any potential visitor.
It was simply a perfect afternoon, as we not only learnt a lot of new facts, but we got a great sense of history surrounding the area and of course developed a greater understanding of the many great pursuits that could be undertaken here. From walking along the extensive trails, bird watching, learning more about the wildlife and even cross country skiing, during the winter.
During the first half of the visit we managed to extensively cover some of the highlights in the High Fens region. We covered many km / miles by hiking the many beautiful walking trails. We also simply enjoyed the peace and quiet of our natural surroundings, as well as fully utilising the car to meander along the scenic roads. With that in mind, it is a beautiful area, that not only has a varying landscape types, but there are many hidden gems to be found along the way.
Malmedy, Rheinhardstien Castle, Ternell and Lac'd Eupen
As we spent a few days around the area, we found a lot more great places to discover.
Malmedy is a picturesque Wallonian city that is nestled in the surrounding hills. The city is relatively small, but is dominated by the architectural splendour of the cathedral. It is a great focal point and can be seen for miles around. The city is a popular destination visitors, who find their way here by car, hiking or perhaps even cross country skiing. There is plenty to enjoy here, with an abundance of cafes, local shops and restaurants.
Nearby to the city of Malmedy is the Reinhardstein Castle. It is a little tricky to find, but well worth it, once you find it. It dates back to 1345 and is typical of the time period. It is set within a beautiful location, at the bottom of a steep valley, probably offering the perfect hiding place for any would be invader. Surrounding the castle, the scenery is superb. With woodlands walking trails and peaceful meandering river at the bottom of the valley.
Ternell is an extension of the High Fens and again it offers a wonderful nature reserve that simply should not be missed, with a large variety of bird species to be noted. Close by is the 'Highway to Hell'. A stunning tree lined road, with an extremely bumpy road surface. It is really worth driving down. Furthermore, the woodland area, that surrounds, is stunning and very peaceful to walk through. Tall trees everywhere. Birds singing and from time to time the call of deer, really help you to get away from it all.
Lac d’Eupen is very close to the town of Eupen and probably seems to be overlooked, but on our travels, we found it to be a destination not to be missed. Effectively it is a reservoir that provides water for the surrounding areas, but it has a stunning dam that was constructed around the end of the second world war. Walks around the reservoir are scenic and inviting and the opportunity to walk across the dam, provides some stunning views.
La Roche en Ardennes
During the second half of the trip we ventured a little further into the Ardenne forest and region and finally reached the popular tourist town of La Roche en Ardennes.
En route to La Roche we drove down some fabulously quiet and meandering roads and were subsequently treated to some stunning scenery. From deep (tree lined) valleys, like the Ninglinspo, where we were treated to a peaceful mountain river walk, to castles prominently perched on rocky outcrops, to open farmland where cows peaceful graze on the hillside.
What a great location La Roche is, positioned at the bottom of a river valley with tree lined hills all around. La Roche caters for everyone from shops, museums and cafes, to a stunning old castle and church being the centre piece for all to see. During our time here we walked and enjoyed seeing the popular sites, but were also again treated to a guided tour by a knowledgeable local.
On our guided tour we hiked high up to the Deister viewpoint and out of the centre of La Roche, where we could (look back) and enjoy the beautiful panoramic view over La Roche. Wandering into the nearby forest areas, also presented opportunities to learn more about the history of the town and also visit a fabulous wildlife park, where we could certainly learn more about the wildlife and the animal species that could be found in and around the local area.
After the hiking tour, we headed back home to the Netherlands. This trip had been an amazing experience, we walked tremendous distances and took it all in. Although the visit was just a few days, it gave us a good insight of how much this part of the Ardennes has to offer. It is definitely an area where I would love to come back to.
This hotel is situated in Eupen, from there it is great to explore the High Fens and its surroundings, since it is centrally located - they also serve excellent food!
Whats in a name? ;-) This beautifully charming and authentic hotel is located in a quiet valley just outside
La Roche. With a big and wonderful garden situated at the river, this is the perfect place to relax after an active day. Tip: stay for dinner, the food fantastic!
I have had a great adventure in one of Europe's best natural playgrounds: Wales and it's surroundings. Wales is undoubtedly an amazing country. Awash with stunning diverse landscapes, mountains, valleys and home to some incredible nature. I will take you on a visual journey from Snowdonia to the Shropshire hills.Read More
Wow! What can I say... I feel so lucky to have been to the magical, one happy island of Aruba. Belonging to the Dutch Caribbean, Aruba is simply out of this world. I always wanted to visit this great island and take some stunning photographs. Thankfully, I had the perfect opportunity to do so!Read More
If you visit Alberta for all the fantastic surroundings, make sure you stop by the wonderful city of Edmonton! I visited this vibrant city and was massively surprised with how photogenic the city and its surroundings are.Read More
Een van de dingen die ik me uit mijn jeugd kan herinneren is de Efteling. Hoe we er op schoolreisje heen gingen, en hoe spannend dat was. Ik was dan ook blij verrast toen ik gevraagd werd een fotoreportage voor dit leuke pretpark te maken!
We vertrokken vroeg om net voor openingstijd aan te komen. Mijn dochtertje sprong een gat in de lucht toen ze door Pardoes werd verwelkomd. Eenmaal binnen was het heerlijk rustig, en de sprookjesmuziek kwam ons al tegemoet. Na een dromerig waterballet zagen we in de lucht de Pagode al opduiken. Het leek ons daarom een goed idee om eerst het park eens van boven te ontdekken. Eenmaal hoog in de lucht zorgde de mist voor een mystiek uitzicht over de Baron 1898.
Meteen door naar het Sprookjesbos, want er was genoeg te zien. Veel verhalen komen hier weer tot leven. We kwamen nog veel attracties tegen die nieuw voor me waren, maar er was ook veel nostalgie te vinden. Hier heb ik als kind zulke leuke herinneringen aan, het blijft leuk. :)
Een van mijn favoriete attracties vroeger was de Droomvlucht. Het was gelukkig niet druk, dus we konden er wel drie keer achter elkaar in. Het ging niet vervelen. :) Na de 3e keer was het toch echt tijd om te gaan en hebben even rustig geluncht.
Er is zoveel te zien en te fotograferen, ik kwam handen tekort. Na een spannende Fata Morgana gingen we in de Piraña wildwaterbaan. Heerlijk in de zomer, je komt er niet droog uit. :) Onderweg ernaartoe kom je mooie fotomomenten tegen, dus zorg voor wat extra accu's, altijd een goed idee ;). En wat mooi is het om de dag af te sluiten met een mooi waterballet. De 'oh’s' en 'ah’s' vliegen om je oren.
Na een leuke en lange dag hebben we ons in de avond teruggetrokken in vakantiepark Bosrijk, waar Klaas Vaak al klaarstond om een slaapverhaaltje te vertellen. Superleuk voor de kinderen, de sprookjes gaan hier gewoon door. Ook in Bosrijk lijkt alles op een sfeervol sprookje, er is over de kleinste details nagedacht. Na een heerlijke nacht slapen hadden we zelfs de kabouter niet gehoord die een tas vol met ontbijt aan onze deur had gehangen.
Gehuld in mist vertrokken we na het heerlijke ontbijt weer voor een wandeling naar de Efteling. Het is de moeite waard een omweg te maken door het park. Als je goed kijkt zie je eekhoorns de bomen in schieten. Tip: neem wat nootjes mee om te voeren. We kwamen zelfs een betoverend zandkasteel tegen!
Ondertussen kwamen we ook Roodkapje en Assepoester tegen, wat een verrassing! We weten nu alles over prinsessen en mooie jurken!
En weer Pardoes! Volgens mij herkende ze ons, zo uitbundig zwaaide ze weer. Eenmaal binnen moesten we natuurlijk eerst even de trappen van het mooie Efteling Theater beklimmen.
Er is zoveel te doen. Deze dag kon ook niet meer stuk. Rennen door het doolhof, vol bewondering kijken naar de achtbaan, griezelen in Spookslot, een 3D spektakel in PandaDroom, lollies eten, suikerspinnen, wafels en…..gewoon teveel om op te noemen!
Wij hadden twee bijzondere dagen, en komen heel graag nog eens terug. Want we hebben niet eens alles gezien!
Dit blog is tot stand gekomen in samenwerking met de Efteling. Het complete verhaal over mijn avonturen in dit leuke park kun je vinden op het nieuwe reisblog van de Efteling: Wonderlust! Daar vind je ook alle verhalen van bekende bloggers. Er is namelijk nog veel meer te zien en te beleven in de Efteling! Check het hier: Wonderlust!
Natuurlijk vind je de Efteling ook terug op mijn Instagram account:
THE LATEST BLOGS:
A behind the scenes on my photographic series called 'Emotions’. It shows the shoot, tips & tricks on how I edit my pictures, and before and after with Adobe tools.Read More
I'm excited to write my second blog post and share its new content, as part of my partnership with Adobe. Within the post I hope to again, share some of my tips and tricks and editing techniques, when working with the tools offered by Adobe. I'm sure many photographers and artists reading my blog are very familiar with the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan and as a result, I personally believe many of us wouldn’t be as creative as we are today, without the possibilities offered by cutting edge products from Adobe.
I think photography is not all about editing, but it really does help to bring my vision to life and helps me create something personal and unique. Within this blog you will see my work being processed differently, using a variety of styles and techniques.
During my visit to England I visited the fantastic Peak District National Park. It is a stunning area of natural beauty and abundance of wildlife, which lives on in its moorland, woodland, wetland and grassland habitats. It is a stunning national park and highly regarded as one of the finest national parks in Britain, an upland area situated in England at the southernmost end of the Pennines.
My first image shows some beautiful horses found on the rugged Peak District farmland, close to the Roaches. I shot this image in raw and completed basic edits in Lightroom that made a powerful impact. I wanted to focus more on the brown horse and allow it to stand out. I did this by adding light with the local brush, adjusting the general clarity to get more detail and saturating the colours with the sliders, all in the basic adjustment panel.
Before and after (slide)
The Peak District is not only an area of AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) and great diversity. It is also split into two geological ranges. The northern Dark Peak, where most of the moorland is found and whose geology is Gritstone and the Southern White Peak, where the geology is mainly made up from limestone.
Before and after (slide)
This above image is one of my favourites, as it captures the essence of the Peak District and the contrasting tones of the sheep. It was a dull, overcast day, however you can easily adjust the light source through editing. Here I used the radial gradient tool in Lightroom. It allows you to create light or a vignette in a more custom, manipulative way. By dragging a circle you can create a mask. You can then modify the exposure, contrast and other attributes to the selection by dragging the slides. Invert your mask by checking the box (see above), this is how I made the shadows on the foreground darker. The sheep in the image will then stand out even more. In Photoshop I used the unsharp mask tool to focus even more on features and details found within the image.
I arrive in Staffordshire (my base for the trip) and head straight to the Roaches range. The Roaches are stunning; they are situated in North Staffordshire and are located on the very edge of the Peak District National Park. Here you find a rugged, unforgiving landscape, remoteness and outstanding views of the surrounding countryside. On a clear day (at the summit) you will see into Wales and can pinpoint the Welsh mountains, probably even some sheep. If you look south you'll see the Long Mynd in Shropshire and close by, the beautiful Tittesworth reservoir. Here the ribbon of fresh water, set in the lush green valley, makes for a popular destination with families and a stunning backdrop for a great photo.
An aspect of wildlife photography I enjoy most is being able to wander through nature and come across beautiful pieces of landscape. This photo captures the very essence of the Roaches, as described above. Here I used a different set of tools to create a local light effect on the face of the rock. In Photoshop I used a mask in the curve adjustment tool and with the brush tool deleted parts of the mask removing the darkest areas, giving it more depth. These edits allow me to adjust the light of the rock in a detailed way. Within Photoshop I also used the dodge tool again, to help bring out the light source within the low cloud cover.
I head towards Roach End farm and travel the long and winding road. I don't see many cars, but just admire the view set out before me, as the road takes me higher and higher, through fields filled with local sheep. I look to the right and see the valley open up, with rays of sunlight amongst the rain showers. In distance is the highest village in England, 'Flash' and the 'flat topped' hill called Shutingsloe, which is found in the neighbouring county of Cheshire.
In this image I was on my way up to the top, so I stopped to capture the sheep. It was raining and since I wasn't carrying a lens cap, I had raindrops on the image. Photoshop provides a range a tools to help get rid of them. In this case I used the clone stamp (S) and the quick retouch brush (J). I also cropped the image (C) for a better composition and used the quick retouch brush (J) to remove the leftovers of the cropped sheep.
Eventually, I used the gradient tool in Lightroom to add color, darkness and contrast to make it look more dramatic and let the sheep stand out more.
Before and after (slide)
The landscape in the roaches is mainly moorland and very unforgiving. The weather can also change very quickly and can be unforgiving too, with low cloud often surrounding you in an instance. You need to be prepared with suitable outdoor gear and read for anything 'mother nature' might throw at you. The landscape flora is mainly heather, it stretches for miles and changes colour from season to season. Lone trees are found here and there and just where the road drops down the valley on the other side, I see a beauty. Maybe I'm strange, but I do love a 'lone tree'. Sitting here all alone I cannot help but stop and capture this beauty, so interesting and so perfect for the picture below.
Much like seeing a lone sheep or cow in the wild, this lone tree was stunning in its great location, with an open landscape and a lot of light. In order to enhance this image and bring out the lone tree, I start with the lens correction function in Lightroom. The function detects the lens that has been used and will correct settings such as colour, vignetting and the distortion. I tend to use this in all my images, it helps form the basic starting point for my edits. Once this was completed, I also wanted to bring out the drama within the sky and detail within the heather on the hillside. For this, I used the local adjustment tool in Lightroom. Lightening the darker elements of the image, so to create further detail on the foreground.
I find the rugged path and begin to walk up the path that eventually leads you to the Roaches summit and beyond. It is a good climb, one that even I can walk up, without moaning too much. The stunning views are all around and if you stop for a second and watch the clouds rush by, you are reminded just how high you are. Coming from Holland, I can tell you it’s quite a novelty.
Once I have taken in the views at the top and captured the moment to admire the stunning scenery, I slowly descend downwards and follow the winding footpath through the grassy foothills and the green pastures of the local farms below. Here the cows are dotted amongst the fields, in such pretty fashion and the sound of the sheep can be heard for miles around.